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Movie Review: 42

Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 3 years and 6 months ago

4     0

Hero is a word thrown around quite a bit in the world of sports. However, heroism isn’t always about obtaining play-based successes on the field - it’s about breaking barriers.

“42” embarks on the story of two men – the legendary Jackie Robinson and the great Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey – whose bravery to oppose prejudices changed the world of baseball as we know it.

In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) placed himself on an unusual spotlight when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chad Roseman) to the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking racial ice among MLB’s color-based divide. The deal placed both men in the font-lines of scrutiny, ridicule and constant bashing. Facing unstoppable racism from every angle, Robinson was forced to display tremendous strength, courage, and restraint by not falling into any kind of actions that would destroy his and Rickey’s dreams.

Rather than what most expected, the great number “42” flourished by letting his talent do the fighting for him on the field, winning over more than just fans and teammates…but a legacy that paved the way for others to follow.  

A bio-pic, is a bio-pic, is a bio-pic! We’ve seen many of them, and no matter what the individual represents in the public-eye, it’s the story’s strength that allows one to soak in historic actions. Whether it’s “Ali,” “The Iron Lady,” “Milk,” etc. its emotional drive digs deep within the narrative.

Although “42” could have had a more touching story, it doesn’t rob its magic when unleashing historic harshness and overall thought-provoking subject matter.

Written and directed by Brian Helgeland (“Salt,” “Greenzone,” “Man on Fire”), what he may have lacked in terms of dialog strength – which was too “Hollywoody” at times – he made up for in so much roughness, it’s kind of ridiculous to think Quentin Tarantino got so much flack over the N-word.

Setting it up to make you fill in Robinson’s shoes, the setting is made to discomfort you to a level where as a viewer you LIVE what it was like back then when anyone who wasn’t black was able to just say and do what they wanted. Proven in such a dark way is during a scene involving unrelenting taunts from Phillies manager Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) that leads to an extremely emotional reaction and heartbreaking wail that lifts your spirits beyond what you imagined. So much, the word empathy doesn’t do it justice.  

Filled with pretty good performances from Harrison Ford, Lucas Black, Nicole Beharie, Andre Holland, and Christopher Meloni – among others – “42” isn’t a film that aims at being just about baseball. Its purpose was to present an angle that hadn’t been told. Sure there’s been a few Jackie Robinson stories floating around, but its mainstream “glam” hadn’t set a mark like “42” will. Running at just a little over two hours, “42” is filled with pleasant moments as well. Provided mostly by Boseman’s innocence and desire to win, as well as Ford’s “granpaish” approach and sarcastic ways among those whose jaws dropped as he pushed further and further for Robinson…

Is it the greatet bio-pic ever? No. “42” has its dips within its plot, jargon, and appeal – as it does feel a bit incomplete – but it’s enugh to be considered a pleasant, powerful, piece that DOES leave one thinking about our country’s bizarre history.



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